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03:47 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Symantec To Buy Vontu?

Symantec may be close to announcing the acquisition of Vontu, a company that helps businesses control information on their networks. Given that Symentec already licenses Vontu's data loss prevention technology, the rumored deal isn't entirely unexpected.

Symantec may be close to announcing the acquisition of Vontu, a company that helps businesses control information on their networks.

Given that Symentec already licenses Vontu's data loss prevention technology, the rumored deal isn't entirely unexpected.Though Symantec declined to comment on reports of the acquisition, two of Vontu's competitors in the DLP space -- Proofpoint and Tizor Systems -- issued comments via e-mail to say that the presumed deal validated the importance of data protection.

The same can be said about McAfee's purchases of Onigma, a maker of data loss prevention software, last year for $20 million, and of SafeBoot B.V., a maker of enterprise data protection products, last week for $350 million.

Both those deals suggest a future for data protection products.

As if the past weren't enough: According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, more than 167 million records have been compromised by data breaches since the start of 2005.

The loss of some 46 million credit and debit card numbers, disclosed earlier this year, from TJX, parent company of retailers TJ Maxx and Marshall's, and the subsequent fraud arising from use of some of that data, has been widely cited by those arguing for stronger data protection technology and laws.

Yet over the weekend, Gov. Schwarzenegger of California vetoed AB 779, the Consumer Data Protection Act, which would have required organizations responsible for data breaches, if they do business in California, to pay for the costs of notifying consumers.

Nonetheless, Schwarzenegger expressed support for data protection in principle, if not as spelled out in the proposed law. "Protecting the personal information of every Californian is very important to me and I am committed to strong laws that safeguard every individual's privacy and prevent identity theft," he said in a letter to the California State Assembly explaining his veto. "Clearly, the need to protect personal information is increasingly critical as routine commercial transactions are more and more exclusively accomplished through electronic means."

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